Message to the Senate Transmitting a Report of the Secretary of State on the Situation in Cuba
To the Senate of the United States:
I transmit herewith, in response to a resolution of the Senate of the 14th of February last, calling for information and correspondence in regard to the condition of the island of Cuba and to negotiations for commercial relations between the United States and that island, a report of the Secretary of State, with its accompanying correspondence, covering the first inquiry of the resolution, together with a report of the special commissioner plenipotentiary charged with commercial negotiations under the provisions of the tariff act approved July 24, 1897, in response to the second inquiry.
Department Of State,
Washington, April 11, 1898.
The Secretary of State has had the honor to receive, by reference from the President, a resolution adopted in the Senate of the United States on the 14th of February last, reading as follows:
"Resolved, That the President is requested, if in his opinion it is not incompatible with the public service, to send to the Senate copies of the reports of the consul-general and of the consuls of the United States in Cuba written or received since March 4, 1897, which relate to the state of war in that island and the condition of the people there, or that he will send such parts of said reports as will inform the Senate as to these facts.
"Second. That the President inform the Senate whether any agent of a government in Cuba has been accredited to this Government or the President of the United States with authority to negotiate a treaty of reciprocity with the United States, or any other diplomatic or commercial agreement with the United States, and whether such person has been recognized and received as the representative of such government in Cuba."
This resolution contemplates answer being made to two separable inquiries: First, in relation to the present condition of affairs in Cuba, and, secondly, with regard to the action had in view of the overtures of the Government of Spain for a reciprocal commercial agreement covering particularly the trade between the United States and the island of Cuba.
The conduct of commercial negotiations under the authority and in accordance with the conditions found in sections 3,4, and 5 of the existing tariff act, approved July 24,1897, having been intrusted to a special commissioner plenipotentiary duly empowered by the President to that end, it has been deemed convenient to leave to the commissioner the preparation of a report in answer to the second part of the Senate resolution, the undersigned reserving to himself the response to the first part thereof, which concerns the political and consular functions of the Department of State. The separate report of the Hon. John A. Kasson, special commissioner plenipotentiary, is therefore herewith independently submitted to the President with a view to its transmission to the Senate, should such a course be, in the President's judgment, not incompatible with the public service.
The Senate resolution, while in terms calling for the submission to that honorable body of all or of a practical selection of the reports of the consul-general and consuls of the United States in Cuba written or received since March 4, 1897, which relate to the state of war in that island and the condition of the people there, appears to leave it to the discretion of the President to direct the scope of the information to be so reported and the manner of its communication. The undersigned, having taken the President's direction on both these points, has the honor to lay before him a selection of the correspondence received by the Department of State from the various consular representatives in Cuba, aiming thereby to show the present situation in the island rather than to give a historical account of all the reported incidents since the date assigned by the resolution.
Department Of State, Washington,
Office of Special Commissioner Plenipotentiary. [sic in source]
In response to the following resolution of the Senate, passed under date of February 14, 1898, and which was referred to the undersigned for report, viz—
"Second. That the President inform the Senate whether any agent of a government in Cuba has been accredited to this Government or the President of the United States with authority to negotiate a treaty of reciprocity with the United States, or any other diplomatic or commercial agreement with the United States, and whether such person has been recognized and received as the representative of such government in Cuba"—
I have the honor to submit the following report:
In October, 1897, the minister of Spain at this capital verbally advised the undersigned that so soon as the new government in Spain had leisure to take up the question he would probably be authorized to enter 1nto negotiations with the undersigned for reciprocal trade arrangements with Spain, and that a representative of Cuba would probably be associated for the interests of that island.
Under date of December 9, 1897, the minister of the United States at Madrid was instructed to ascertain the disposition of the Spanish Government in respect to these negotiations.
Under date of January 24, 1898, a dispatch from Mr. Woodford (referred to this office) advised the Secretary of State that arrangements were made for the negotiation of a commercial treaty between Spain and the United States; that separate provisions would be made for Cuba, and that the Cuban insular government would appoint a delegate to represent that island in the negotiations. This was accompanied by a memorandum from the Spanish minister of colonies, stating that the same rules as for Cuba might be applied to Puerto Rico, and suggesting a basis for the negotiations. This communication was referred to this office on the 4th of February.
On the 6th of February the Spanish minister, Mr. Dupuy de Lôme, called on the undersigned and announced that he was authorized to represent Spain in the pending negotiations and that a special representative would arrive from Cuba, under appointment of the insular government, to act as far as the interests of that island were involved. He mentioned the name of Señor Angulo as the gentleman who had been suggested in Cuba for that appointment; but the delegate was not officially notified to this office.
On March 17 a note from the Spanish minister, Señor Polo y Bernabé addressed, under date of the 16th instant, to the Secretary of State, was referred to this office. In that note his excellency advised this Government of his appointment by Her Majesty the Queen Regent of Spain to conduct these negotiations, assisted by Senor Manuel Rafael Angulo as special delegate of the insular government of Cuba, who would be aided by two technical assistants, also appointed by the Cuban government; and, further, that an officer from the treasury department would be added in the same character.
His excellency announced his readiness to commence the labors of the commission so soon as the Government of the United States should formulate the general plan for carrying on the work.
Respectfully submitted, March 17, 1898.
JOHN A KASSON
Special Commissioner Plenipotenitary [sic in source]
William McKinley, Message to the Senate Transmitting a Report of the Secretary of State on the Situation in Cuba Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/304977